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2024 Puerto Vallarta Race at San Diego Yacht Club - Day 6

by San Diego Yacht Club 28 Feb 01:22 GMT February 22 - March 1, 2024
2024 Puerto Vallarta Race © San Diego Yacht Club

Competitors in the 2024 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race are approaching a classic tactical waypoint while negotiating the Baja Peninsula. Boats will gamble on sailing fewer miles by hugging the Baja coast or bearing away to the south, hoping to avoid getting stuck in the lee of Cabo San Lucas and the surrounding Baja headlands.

Rio100 finally powered up, showing teens on the speedo at sunrise on Tuesday morning. And as the first to reach the Cabo milestone at 1000 PST, Rio100 consistently sailed 18-20 kts throughout the day Tuesday, swinging just 14 miles offshore from Cabo and then gybing south nearly 60 miles. With the speed boost, Rio put 70 miles on their nearest competitor Blackwing, who passed 26 miles off of Cabo 7 hours later on Tuesday afternoon.

From Jay Davis, Rio100 Navigator: "We have been averaging some speeds in the high teens and 20kts for the last 5 hours (Tuesday afternoon), the boat is eating up the miles. We grabbed some good compression off Cabo and used it to get south and sail low off the light convergence zone that's developing."

Forecasts for Isla Maria (about two thirds along the passage from Cabo to the PV finish line) are showing lighter but persistent winds for Tuesday evening, then strengthening to the mid-teens and holding through Saturday. That will be a welcome boost for the rest of the fleet that has been grinding their light air gears for the balance of the race thus far.

The battle rages on in Class 4 where Lucky Duck, Westerly, It's OK and Groundhog Day continue to remain close in distance down the course. After spending much of Monday sailing in close proximity, they have split east and west a bit and may have the class standings determined by how they sail past Cabo under the near full moon on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Class 5 is just as competitive as Good Call leads the pack to the halfway mark of their race, but is in close contention for the class lead with Amazing Grace and last year's class winner Velos. With a distance of 60 miles from Good Call back to the rest of the class, the varying conditions they'll sail through under Cabo could flip the class standings come sunrise Wednesday.

BadPak was 2nd overall in 2022, narrowly missing the overall win in the last race, and is contending for this year's win, while sailing the most coastal pass along the lower region of the Baja peninsula on Monday and Tuesday.

Peligroso is looking for its 3rd overall PV Race win, all for different owners, with new owner Cecil Rossi sailing his first race on Peligroso this week. Peligroso and BadPak were within a few miles of each other Monday morning and split up to 25 miles over the next 36 hours only to meet again Tuesday evening with the Cabo passing approaching. BadPak will owe Peligroso time, so the Rossi's may try to hang with BadPak as long as they can.

Pyewacket is methodically creeping up the overall standings from the back of the fleet and will have a chance to dash the hopes of boats that finish before them by overtaking them in the corrected time battle, looking to repeat their 2018 PV Race win.

Peter Isler while navigating Pyewacket for skipper Roy P. Disney shared his thoughts for the first half of this year's race. "In any long race like PV - with its share of "minefields" like the infamous Cabo lee that the fleet has yet to cross over - you can't let your strategy be affected by how you are doing. It may sound trite - kind of like most pro athlete interviews you hear - but its best to focus on the process and just play the game within what you can control. In this race, the fleet of boats are of disparate speeds and, with the staggered start days based on which class you are in, there's a lot of the "luck of the draw" that you can't control. We are pretty happy with the way we have sailed the race so far, but we have already faced some of that "luck" factor with the faster boats from our start day enjoying different conditions yesterday because they were in a more advanced "zipcode". As Torben Grael said last night - "its a long race and there's still a lot of racing to go". We'll try to maintain that "do the best we can" with the cards that have been dealt to us and not focus on how we are doing on the scoreboard. Though I must say, its a highlight to see that crown on your boat on the yellowbrick tracker!

We have been fortunate to have had a little four boat fleet that has been within visual range for most of the last 36 hours [Vitesse, Zero Gravity 51, Fast Exit II] that helps us balance the big strategic picture - with the "let's go fast and do as best we can with the short term conditions against our closest rivals who are experiencing similar weather. With the breakdown of the ridge over the past 24 hours the wind has been very shifty and unstable and the weather models have been struggling (at best) to keep up, its been a benefit to have some friends around within eyesight to race against."

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